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ERIC Number: ED535796
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 166
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-6496-7
A Study of College Readiness Programs among High School Students in South Texas
Smithwick-Rodriguez, Tracie
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
Low-income high school graduates are less likely to get to a postsecondary institution than their middle and upper-income peers (U.S. Department of Education, 2000). Students who do enter a four-year institution do not have the necessary academic preparation to succeed and obtain a professional degree. The study examined how two national college awareness process programs differ in college preparation of Texas high school students among student characteristics (gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status). The college readiness initiatives, "Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs" (GEAR UP) and the "Early College High School" initiative (ECHS) were designed to provide educational services to low-income student populations through communities to help create new and/or expanded plans that strengthen schools in preparing high school students for college-level work and pursuit. The study relied on the "Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills" (TAKS) to analyze academic performance, commended performance, and college readiness performance data to measure outcomes of student performance from each of the two programs. Each participating school was required to implement the programs with emphasis on three overarching areas of emphasis: (a) nurturing environment that supports college awareness, which was supported by the Developmental Assets Theory, (Search Institute, 2007); (b) provide college awareness information and educational opportunities consistently, which was supported by Resiliency Theory (Goldstein, 2006); and (c) engaged learning that enhances instruction through professional development for teachers, which was supported through the Experiential Learning Theory (Kolb. 1999). Data were based on TAKS students' testing scores from two South Texas high schools. One high school utilized the GEAR UP program and one high school used the ECHS program. TAKS test scores and student characteristics were provided by the independent school district in which the high schools operate. Students were from the 2010 graduating cohort. Test scores from English Language Arts and Mathematics were compared indicators for college readiness. Data were analyzed with descriptive, two-way ANOVA, t-test, and chi-square statistics. Results indicated that students who were involved in the ECHS college readiness program outperformed students in the GEAR UP program. There was statistical significance between scores as students in the ECHS program had higher scores than those in the GEAR UP program in academic performance and commended performance. Although there was not a statistical difference in college readiness, ECHS had higher scores. Ethnicity and socioeconomic status did not have a significant effect on college readiness achievement. Gender was the only student characteristic that had a statistically difference in college readiness performance. Overall, the ECHS program provided an environment more conducive to student performance for college preparation than GEAR UP. Results indicated that environmental implementations and structures contributed to student performance. The focus or the ECHS program had strong literacy components with structured support services and implementations that enhanced instructional components. The ECHS program appeared to exhibit the strongest instructional environment supportive of Developmental Assets Theory, (Search Institute, 2007), Resiliency Theory (Goldstein, 2006), and Experiential Learning Theory (Kolb, 1999). Future research should expand the study in several areas. The study can be conducted in other areas of the state to see if there are comparable results. Another study could investigate whether statistically significant differences exist among GEAR UP, ECHS, and non-college readiness initiatives to understand what impact a college preparation program may have with non-college readiness programs. An investigation could examine the correlation between testing results to help identify whether one type of test topic impacted another. For example, if higher scores in English Language Arts led to higher scores in other subject areas, then school districts could re-focus both curricular and pedagogical strategies. The study examined how well two national college readiness initiatives prepare Texas high school students for college among student characteristics with necessary implementations from both programs. The study provided insight on how students with varied characteristics and backgrounds experience academic preparations and college readiness. The study was a comprehensive review of instructional experiences and outcomes that lead to academic and college readiness performances. The literature informed and guided the study with themes drawn by the research to reflect previous studies that related to the academic experiences of students and college readiness. All students deserve an opportunity to seek a postsecondary education yet must be academically prepared to be successful in seeking a college degree. An increase in college attainment is a necessity for the State of Texas and will contribute to a stronger economic society. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas